The staff learned a new term today. One of us heard this term on the radio during their drive in and then shared it with the rest of us. That term is “quiet quitting”.
Effectively But Not Actually Quitting
As you may know, there has been a lot of quitting since the early months of 2020. Some of this quitting was literal. People literally quit their jobs. They stopped working entirely. So many people did this that the phenomenon was called “the Great Resignation”.
Quiet quitting is like the Great Resignation, but it is different in one significant way. People who quiet quit don’t literally quit their jobs. They just effectively quit them. These quiet quitters continue to show up at work, but they are not working in a Colossians 3:23, “work at it with all your heart” way. They are just doing what they need to do to get by, just going through the motions, just “phoning it in”.
And this quiet quitting is as big a phenomenon as the Great Resignation is. One Gallup poll the staff looked at said 50% of the American workforce has quietly quit in this way. This means half of our workers are not enthusiastic or engaged in their work. They are not trying to actually achieve the goal their work was meant to achieve.
Quiet Quitting In The Church
Seeing that this was true in the workforce, we then started to wonder if it is also true in church. After all, the church is a workplace of sorts. We have a “job” to do. It is God’s job, the work of moving others closer to God.
And there are some who think we have quietly quit from this work. This is suggested by a recent Lifeway poll in which pastors were asked to identify the “modern-day idols” influencing their congregations, that is, the things the people in their congregation desire and pursue. While all the usual suspects (money, political power, and romantic love) appeared in this poll, the biggest idol identified by these pasters was “comfort”. Sixty-seven percent of the pastors polled said comfort was the most influential idol in their congregation.
If comfort is truly an idol, then quiet quitting will certainly enter the picture at some point. It has to. As we repeatedly see in the Scriptures and history, the work of moving others closer to God is always uncomfortable in some way. Thus, there will eventually be a clash between this work and this idol, and quiet quitting could be the result.
How To Not Quiet Quit God’s Work
But it doesn’t have to be the result. It is possible to remain engaged in God’s work even when it clashes with the idol of comfort and/or any of our other idols. Here are a couple ways to do this:
- Understand your role in the work. We are not expendable drones or “wage slaves” in God’s workplace. Our role is far more significant than that. I was taught to call this role “spiritual parent”, but there are other terms which fit as well: pastor or shepherd, brother or sister, watchman (Ezekiel 33:7), “the adult in the room”. Whichever term you prefer, the idea is of a person who accepts the responsibility to spiritually value and care for other people. That is the role God has called us to, and it is a great one.
- Understand the need. As seen in the definition of our role, the need is to “spiritually value and care for other people”. That is a great need, and fulfilling it is a great thing. Isaiah is a perfect example of this. When God asked who He could send to fulfill this need, Isaiah was moved and said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8) He thought spiritually valuing and caring for people was worth doing. And he was right.
- Allow God to encourage. This great work can be exasperating at times. Isaiah is again an example of this. It is likely Isaiah was disappointed and demotivated when he realized King Hezekiah was not going to be the prophesied savior of Israel (Isaiah 39). He could have quietly quit at that point. But fresh input from God kept him from doing so. God came to him after this disappointment with predictions of the true savior of Israel, and Isaiah was encouraged once again. In the same way, when we regularly go to God in prayer and devotion, we receive encouragement from Him to keep us going in this great work.
Our Opportunity To Keep Working
We are not likely to conquer the temptation of quiet quitting with brute force. Just saying, “Don’t do this. It is bad,” is not likely to help us here.
But understanding our role, understanding the need, and allowing God to encourage will help. We do have a great work to do. We also have great opposition to that work. Several of them, in fact. But if we understanding what our role in that work is, why we’re doing it, and how God can help us do it, we can continue to engage that work with joy and hope.
Many of you at The Church Next Door did this, and we are so thankful you did. Let’s keep doing this together. Let’s allow God to keep us from quiet quitting and keep us working for Him.